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Escaping living on a garbage dump through education (Philippines)

Education project of Young Focus

All profit Counting Flowers made in 2011 up to 2014 has been donated to the Dutch Foundation Young Focus, in order to support underprivileged children living on a garbage dump in Manila, Philippines. In 2015 up to 2017 Young Focus received part of our profit.

Through an education project of Young Focus, the children are being encouraged to go to school. They are supported from elementary school all the way up to vocational education or even university.


Girl Smokey Mountain


Paul and Ann van Wijgerden together with a team of Filipino colleagues run Young Focus in Tondo, one of the poorest districts of Manila and home to the infamous Smokey Mountain, the city’s largest garbage dump.

Smokey Mountain is home to 3.000 people. They survive by collecting dirt and by burning waste wood and timber for the production of charcoal. Even children as young as four years old are helping by collecting nails that fall out of the burning wood.


Girl education in Manila


These children do not attend school for several reasons. They cannot afford their school uniforms, nor the (low) school fee. Also their parents want them to contribute to the family income and put them to work. Most parents have never attended school themselves and in many cases do not see how education could benefit their children.

At this moment Young Focus supports 275 children to go to school. The children can visit the foundation’s Student Centre to do their homework, use computers and borrow books. At home it's often impossible to study as the children's entire families live in tiny huts on the garbage dump.


Girl eduction Young Focus


Counting Flowers has direct contacts with Young Focus. We have also visited the people living on Smokey Mountain; a visit that is still etched in our memory. We are therefore convinced that Counting Flowers' profit is well-spent helping these children (especially the girls) to go to school. Even then, their road remains long and hard. But at least these children get a chance to leave the garbage dump.


Read also about other initiatives supported by Counting Flowers.